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China’s robust economy slows in October

/ 03:44 PM November 15, 2017

China’s economic activity moderated in October as data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Tuesday, but the country’s overall economic strength remains robust and is on track to achieve whole-year growth targets, an NBS official said.

Industrial production grew by 6.2 percent year-on-year in October, missing analysts’ forecast of 6.3 percent and falling by 0.4 percentage point from last month, according to the NBS.

Fixed-asset investment also saw weaker growth of 7.3 percent year-on-year in the first 10 months of this year, compared with 7.5 percent during the first nine months.

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The property sector cooled, as investment growth eased to 7.8 percent year-on-year in the first 10 months while retail sales growth moderated to 10 percent year-on-year in October, down by 0.3 percentage point from last month.

Liu Aihua, an NBS spokeswoman, said that fluctuations of the economic data in October did not change the overall trend of China’s steady economic growth with improved quality and efficiency.

Steady production growth, sound employment and stable consumer prices indicated that the overall economic performance remained in the “reasonable” territory, which laid a solid foundation for the country’s fulfillment of its whole-year economic target, Liu said at a news conference in Beijing.

The Chinese government has set the whole-year economic growth target at around 6.5 per cent. The country already saw robust growth of 6.9 percent in the first three quarters.

Despite the moderate economic contraction in October, Qu Tianshi, an economist at ANZ Group, said he remained optimistic about China’s economic outlook as the government policy priority will focus on pushing reform and reducing economic leverage.

“Having that as the main policy theme in mind, a slower or faster growth rate doesn’t really matter that much as long as the data of corporate profit, employment and inflation remain in the reasonable range,” Qu said.

Chinese industrial enterprises reported total profit of 5.58 trillion yuan ($840 billion) in the first nine months of the year, up by 22.8 percent year-on-year. The growth rate was 14.4 percentage-points faster than the same period of last year.

China’s urban unemployment rate dropped below 5 percent in October and the number of new jobs created in cities in the first 10 months stood at 11.9 million, already exceeding the whole-year target of 11 million, according to Liu, the NBS official.

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Wang Tao, chief China economist at UBS Securities, said that the softening economic growth in October was mainly due to the cooling property market and decelerating infrastructure investment.

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